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Civil engineers are land planning experts

Civil engineers are wonderful partners who can absolutely make or break a real estate development project.

They'll assist with code and development ordinance research, land planning, and drafting the site plan and construction drawings as you progress through the land entitlement process.

They'll take the lead on coordinating with the different agencies and departments to secure all the required permits in order to break ground - land disturbance, erosion control, driveway and utility, and stormwater permits to name a few. 

Give them a property address and tax parcel number, and they can hit the ground running. In a couple of months, you'll likely have a fully developed site plan, grading, utility, stormwater plans, and all the other critical construction documents to start pushing dirt. 

But as the project owner, the question is - will it even meet your intent?

Civil engineers operate based on a prescribed set of standards outlined by the municipality and conventional engineering doctrine. The only guidance they have when creating the concept for the site is the vision a project owner articulates to them

If, as a project owner, you aren't quite sure how to direct the site planning efforts, this guide is for you.  

Our Site Plan Guide will help owners better guide their civil engineers during a development project. Download your copy below.  👇👇👇


A successful site plan is the developer's responsibility

Real estate developers have to wear a bunch of different hats throughout the course of a project.

On the front end of a deal, they'll often take the lead on land identification and acquisition. Then, they'll be in charge of real estate due diligence efforts. Then, they'll need to hire the right consultants and service providers to round out the development team. Then, they'll be in charge of leading the project through land entitlement, permitting, and, ultimately, construction. 

But none of that matters if the project isn't profitable. Or doesn't achieve the owner's vision. The two often aren't mutually exclusive - but no one on the development team cares as much about either as the project owner. 

So, as the real estate developer, it's your responsibility to set your civil engineer up for success. They have the technical expertise - it's their job to execute the overall site planning efforts. But without the proper direction and guidance from the project owner, engineers often have too much latitude. 


Site plan do's and don'ts - where do you start?

But if you're not a seasoned real estate developer, how do you begin guiding your engineer through site planning? Because, of course, they have more repetitions under their belt. And likely more experience navigating the municipality's issues. If a real estate developer works on several projects throughout a year, it's common for a civil engineer to handle tens of projects over that same time frame.   

And even if you do have development experience, maybe you haven't handled projects as efficiently as possible. Or you left money on the table. Or sacrificed project density for the path of land entitlement least resistance. 

In real estate development, like most business practices, just because something has been done a certain way for a while doesn't mean it's the right way to do things. And since a site plan is the crux of a successful project, developers need to constantly be innovating to keep up with municipal requirements and engineering best practices. 

As a real estate developer, it all begins with asking the right questions. And, in order to ask the right questions of your civil engineer, you need to be educated enough on their profession and their skillset to effectively guide the process.

This isn't theory or hypotheticals.

In this guide, we distilled our real-world experience and condensed it into a digestible framework for you to achieve better site plan outcomes.

I've had my share of costly and time-consuming mistakes - taking my engineer's word as gospel and not knowing enough to refine plans more efficiently. So, my goal in creating this site plan guide was to help you avoid those same mistakes

There's so much to consider when creating a site plan:

  • Environmental considerations
  • Topography
  • Access to municipal utilities
  • Types of soil and composition
  • Municipal requirements
  • Zoning & land use
  • Stormwater management

And that's only to name a few. 

Every municipality has its minimum standards. But do those standards even achieve a workable plan or the developer's desired outcome? 

I can't answer that question - only you can. But my experience is that just because something works on paper doesn't mean it's practical.

The site plan guide is your blueprint for all your future projects - offering points of key guidance every business owner and developer needs to give their engineer before ever putting pen to paper.  


This guide was built with several people in mind...

There could be a hundred different reasons why you've stumbled upon this due diligence checklist. If you're like most people, you probably fall into one of several buckets:

  • You're a business owner trying to self-manage your own development. You know in your mind what your business's needs are but haven't been able to effectively articulate those needs to an engineer and aren't quite sure how to guide their efforts.
  • You're a seasoned real estate developer who has several projects under their belt but feels like there might be a more productive and cost-effective way to do things.
  • You're a novice real estate developer who has minimal project experience or maybe has been railroaded by a civil engineer in the past, and you lack certain practical experience.
  • You're a real estate investor who's interested in adding value to a property through land entitlement and needs to develop a site plan that is marketable to a builder or developer on the back end.    

What you'll find in the site plan guide

A quality site plan will make or break a project.

For businesses and operating companies, it typically all comes down to practicality and functionality for both employees and customers.

For developers and investors, density, site yield, and financial metrics are usually the most important considerations.

Each desired outcome requires a unique and nuanced approach to crafting the site plan and guiding the civil engineer. 

Arm yourself with the skills and knowledge to be able to effectively manage that process by downloading the site plan guide below. 

The guide is separated into two distinct sections - first, offering points of key guidance for a civil engineer, and second, covering several common oversights during the site plan development process:

You can expect to find info on topics like:

  • Parking considerations
  • Site circulation flow
  • Value engineering
  • Landscape design
  • Marrying interior layout with the site program
  • Grading & environmental considerations
  • Stormwater management

After diving into the guide, you may have questions. It's easy for me to put something on paper, but much more challenging to take that info and apply it in practice.

Don't get discouraged. If, after diving into the site plan guide, you still have questions or concerns, we're happy to help.


We built this guide to help you achieve better real estate development outcomes

There's no instruction manual when it comes to real estate development.

And the industry as a whole does a poor job of information sharing. Developers look at their experience as their own intellectual property - typically not keen on oversharing unless there is something in it for them.

The other challenge is that every project is different. Development lies at the intersection of tax, legal, operational, and financial implications. So, even if you have experience in one type of development, it doesn't necessarily translate to another type of project.

But despite all that, perhaps the most important skill a developer can possess is the ability to build and lead a cohesive development team - the consultants you surround yourself with will determine the success of a project.

It's hard managing different personalities and different trades with unique skill sets. 

And while we can't manage the project for you, we wanted to make it a little bit easier. So I hope this site plan guide does just that - allowing you to make more thoughtful and calculated decisions and ultimately achieve better results.

Fill out the quick form below and get your free copy of our site plan guide today!


Download Your Free Site Plan Guide